eDiscovery Gone Global: Best Practices for Legal Service Providers
Managing and analyzing large volumes of data in response to litigation, regulatory inquiries, or internal investigations is no easy task. Legal professionals must be able to find and collect data quickly, protect it once they have it, and handle it according to best practices - which vary by jurisdiction, country, state or region, and even between organizations.
As you might expect, eDiscovery tasks may become even more difficult when the discovery involves data sources across international borders, raising important questions about how to organize and conduct eDiscovery activities.
For organizations and law firms that do business in - or even have clients or customers in - more than one jurisdiction, it's especially important to vet every organization that touches their data. Electronic discovery providers must ensure that all client data is handled in a way that complies with applicable laws and regulations; while also ensuring that it is handled carefully and consistently no matter where it resides.
Justin Tebbe, Inventus' Senior Director of Technical Solutions, sat down recently with Chris Dale of the eDisclosure Information Project, to discuss just some of the best practices legal practitioners should look for when choosing a vendor to handle their eDiscovery projects.
In Multinational eDiscovery, Communication is Crucial
Multinational organizations may collect or receive data in very different formats, and of varying quality, depending on location, individuals involved, local processes, or many other factors.
For that reason, it's incredibly important that all parties involved in an eDiscovery project remain in continual communication regardless of location - whether that be via email, telephone, or an eDiscovery project management tool such as AMP.
Discovery project management and operations teams in Seattle must know what their counterparts in London did while they were asleep; similarly, forensics teams in New York must scrub in their counterparts in Hong Kong before turning in for the day. Mature eDiscovery providers will have rock-solid communication policies on project hand-offs between countries, jurisdictions, and teams to ensure the highest level of continuity across borders.
Consistency is Key in Cross-Border eDiscovery Processes
Ultimately, discovery project output must align with consistent, documented specifications and flow from a shared understanding of common legal technology vernacular. "Email threading” or "near-duping" may mean different things in different jurisdictions. An easy example is the fact that the discovery process is called discovery in the US, and disclosure in the UK. It's important to control for these and many other variables.
When choosing an eDiscovery organization, ensure they have a truly multinational operation with experienced individuals in each location who understand and are practiced in the local regulations and technical requirements with regards to transferring data across borders for processing or review in other jurisdictions.
Consistency in eDiscovery Tools Worldwide
Consistency in tools and technology is also essential to maintain uniform high quality across jurisdictions as well as to prevent conflicting results and cost inefficiencies. Using the same tools and technologies - in Inventus' case, an innovative eDiscovery workflow management dashboard that integrates seamlessly with its internal ticketing system using purpose-built templates - across jurisdictions leaves nothing to chance and provides a failsafe in the event of a communication breakdown between any two parties.